Appearance and Reality
One of the themes of really great literature, stage and screen is the conflict between appearance and reality. It was Shakespeare who reminded us that, “all that glitters is not gold”, “that not every cloud brings a storm”, and that “things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour”.
The truth of great prose is that it spans the centuries it is not limited to a time or space. We today, perhaps more than at any other time, are living in a world where it is hard to sort out reality from appearance. It is a time when a politicians untruthful campaign ad and slam on his opponent can be more important that his stand on the issues. And we can’t be assured that his stand on an issue is any more than a quote of a prevailing public opinion rather than a heartfelt personal belief. It’s a world so superficial that for some people, their best friends are those flickers on a T.V. screen. It’s a world where we put up fronts because we think people might not like us without our veneer.
The big problem in this is that we become so confused between reality and fiction that we put our faith in the temporary and fading rather than the eternal, and therefore spending a life time chasing after the wind. It is far too easy to equate the importance of a person with what we see, as a public image, rather than the knowledge of his core value. We may let those things which seem most important draw us away from those things which really are most important. We may begin to think that real power is wealth and notoriety rather than personal integrity.
Appearance and reality. If only they had labels posted on them clearly so we could recognize them and act accordingly. Appearance has a way of seeming immediate, important and demanding. Reality is quite often dressed in simply cloths and quite often fades into the background. We very seldom have time to stop and ask ourselves what really is important in the eternal scheme of things. All too often life becomes what the writer of Ecclesiastes states “a handful of nothingness and a chasing after the wind”.
A father can miss his child’s first music concert because he has a club meeting. There is time to read a mindless magazine but not enough time to read the scriptures. We envy those who are served but not those who are serving.
One day perhaps, when our eyes are open and are minds are clear. Appearance with all of its false qaiety and self- seeking, will take a final curtain bow, and reality will take center stage in our lives. Then we will know if we have put our faith and time in their proper place.
Pastor Hans Lillejord